Posts Tagged With: neighbors

Why We are going to the Mosque on Good Friday

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

It is Holy Week. We remember all that Jesus did for us when he went to the cross, died for our sins, was buried, and on the third day rose again. The very depths and heights of our faith. My husband and my calling to follow Jesus in loving those outside our own faith community compels us to go to our local Mosque this Friday night. Don’t get me wrong, I love Good Friday services. The somber reflections of the ultimate sacrifice Christ paid moves me deeply.

 

This friday is especially important that we go to the Mosque. For many years of our adult lives we  have lived in Central Asia, first in Northwest China, then in Kazakhstan. We lived and worked among many different ethnic groups – Chinese, Russian, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, but especially Uyghurs. Our Uyghur friends and neighbors taught us deeply about many things, hospitality, faithful loyalty to family, respect for elders, love of music, dancing and food, to name a few. These very ones who sowed richly into our lives are now struggling for their own lives in their homeland. The government of China is attempting to wipe out their culture and possibly existence by incarcerating over a million people in concentration camps where people are dying daily. They are seperating children from parents and mercilessly controlling every aspect of their lives through extreme measures. We are teaming up with our local Mosque this Good Friday to lend our voices to the voiceless. We are speaking up together to say No to this horrific act of violence.

 

What better way to fight the evil of dehumanization then to join with our Muslim brothers and sisters from around the world. We will not be manipulated into divided camps, but stand together and with one voice cry out to God to deliver the Uyghur people from their oppressors.

Categories: Faith, God, Good Friday, lament, Lent, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Series of Laments

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I am writing a series of laments. As a white evangelical Christian I did not learn to lament in my religious or cultural background. This lack of lament is probably due to the fact that I and my ancestors, as part of the dominant culture, have not suffered the injustice, oppression or violence as have many of my neighbors of color. In the last few years I have been introduced to this specific form of prayer.  It is connected closely with confession and repentance.  We are living in an extremely violent society, in an extremely violent world. We are reeling from one tragic event to another. As a follower of Jesus the Christ, I have learned from his teachings the law of sowing and reaping. What is planted is what grows.  With this principle in mind I wonder what it will take to root out the violence in our society and in our world. Large trees with long roots started as small seeds.  What seeds have been planted in our history that continue to bloom into violence? I believe a collective lament, confession and repentance is necessary for lasting change to occur. The path to healing in our communities, must go through this path of self-reflection and acknowledgement leading to lament, confession and repentance. I invite you to join me in this journey of overturning the soil in our hearts in the hope of producing the good fruits of love and peace in our world.

Laments can be spoken, chanted or sung together in a group or alone.  The bold letter words are for those who wish to pray together in a group.

This first lament is in response to the recent Texas church shooting.

 

#1 Lament for violence in our land:

 

Oh God hear our prayers!

 

Today children are grieving.

They have lost their parents or grandparents.

Oh Lord hear their cries.

 

Today parents and grandparents are grieving.

They have lost their children and grandchildren.

Oh Lord hear their cries.

 

Today brothers and sisters are grieving.

They have lost their siblings.

Oh Lord hear their cries.

 

Today neighbors and friends are grieving.

They have lost their neighbors and friends.

Oh Lord hear their cries.

 

We have done wrong against you

And our fellow human beings

Made in your image.

We have not loved our neighbors

As ourselves.

 

We have loved our power

More than our neighbors.

Lord have mercy.

 

We have loved our comfort

More than our neighbors.

Lord have mercy.

 

We have loved our privilege

More than our neighbors.

Lord have mercy.

 

We have loved our safety

More than our neighbors.

Lord have mercy.

 

We have loved our weapons

More than our neighbors.

Lord have mercy.

 

Lord have mercy

And forgive us these things

We pray.

Show us how to walk out

Our repentance towards you

And our neighbors.

Amen

Categories: Faith, God, grief and death, growth, Hope, lament, Paths, Peace and Reconciliation, Prayer | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let’s Trump Evil with Good and Win a Big Chocolate Bar!

 

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Let’s Trump Evil with Good and Win a Big Chocolate Bar!

 

Here is how to do it.  I have 5 big bars of Trader Joe’s Chocolate for the first 5 people who invite a Muslim friend, co-worker, or neighbor to dinner.  I ask that you simply invite them, cook a simple Halal meal, which could be vegetarian if you don’t have access to Halal meat.  Now ask your guests questions about their life and listen.  Please just listen and learn some things you’ve never known before.  This is how we make friends, how we make peace and defuse the crazy phobias flying around these days.  The first 5 people that get back to me with their address (US only please) and a simple description of their time I will send a 1 pound chocolate bar. I suspect you will receive an invitation in return and make a life long friend.  I hope this is true. How about taking this challenge?  Especially if you have never done this before.  

 

Let us be world changers together and truly “Love our neighbors as ourselves”. “Doing unto others what we would like them to do to us”, takes some thought.  What would it be like to be a Muslim in our country right now?  How could I do something to help ease their fears and anxiety?  What if I was in a foreign country where words were flying across the airwaves and threats being made about people of my faith? A simple invitation of hospitality might be a start.  May God bless you!  I hope to hear from you soon!

 

Categories: Advent, borderlands, Faith, God, Hope, Hospitality, Love, Peace and Reconciliation | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Invasive Species

The other day I was hacking some ivy back that was trying to take over an azalea plant in my backyard.  Our yard is pretty wild and overgrown.  We have a lot of trees and bushes that I am slowly learning to recognize.  Gardening has not been a huge part of our lives since we have lived most of our adult years in China and Central Asia.  Three quarters of those years were in apartments.  Now here we are back from the borderlands with house and garden.

As I was hacking the ivy, I thought I would take a swipe at this invasive species that has slowly been taking over one area of our yard.  It has been bugging me for a while, but I have mostly ignored it.  Everyone I’ve asked has recommended spraying it.  But since I have a lung condition that is probably environmentally related, and a little dog, and live near the Puget Sound where our run off water runs into, I haven’t done that. So I started pulling up the weeds one by one roots and all.  Bill saw what I was doing and joined the party.  We made a little dent in the problem.  Not major, but a start and if we keep at it we can maybe get rid of most of it and then be inspired to look around at what our next project can be.

So I started thinking, because I am always looking for meaning, messages and metaphors in life.  What if these invasive species represent evil? War, human trafficking, greed, violence, injustice etc, etc.  You name it. What if we just left it to take over? Ignored it? Even got used to it? The world would be a wild place and I don’t mean wild in a good way.

Thank God good people everyday are out there doing good every day keeping evil at bay.  They are fighting inertia and making a difference in families, neighborhoods, cities, countries and the world.

We can be overwhelmed with all the invasive species or we can find our place in the garden and get to work.  Whether it is cooking food for hungry people, making friends with our neighbors near and far, helping children, praying and blessing others, caring for the elderly or disabled, working for peace and reconciliation in the hot spots, or encouraging a friend or stranger.  There are so many ways to honor God with good works.  We all have a part of pushing back the darkness in our day and in our times.

Jesus as always is our example. He wasn’t fretting or frantic over the evil of his day or the evil of all days put together and laid on him.  He had work the Father gave him to do, a job at hand and he steadily did it, until His final hour. He was not overcome by evil but overcame evil with good.

Categories: Faith, God, Hope, Life, Prayer, Sermon Notes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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